Collection Online
The Virgin and Child

The Virgin and Child
(mid 15th century-late 15th century)

oil on wood panel
26.3 × 19.4 cm
inscribed in black paint u.l.: CŌPLETV (line above V) ĀNO D / MCCCCXXXIIJ (circle above M, fourth C and J) / P IOHEM DE EYC / BRUGIS
inscribed in black paint u.r.: ĀAC / IXĀ / XĀN
(translation) (Completed in the year of Our Lord 1433 by Johannes de Eyc, Bruges / As I can)
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1923
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
18th Century Decorative Arts - Great Hall Costume Corridor
Level 2, NGV International
Subjects (general)
Human Figures Relationships and Interactions Religion and Mythology
Subjects (specific)
Blessed Virgin Mary (Christian character) Christ Child (Christian theme) infants Madonna and Child (Christian theme) mothers reading (activity) shawls women (female humans)

The Early Netherlandish master Jan van Eyck (c. 1395–1441) achieved a refinement of illusionistic detail never seen before in oil painting. He was also one of the first artists to develop religious imagery showing the Virgin and Child in more recognisable interiors. This was a departure from the flatter Gothic/Byzantine tradition of representing figures isolated from any believable spatial context. A number of motifs present in this small panel are identifiably in the manner of van Eyck, and for many years the painting was attributed to him. The influence of other Netherlandish masters, including Robert Campin and Rogier van der Weyden, can also be discerned here.


The Virgin and Child, (acc. No. 1275-3) acquired in 1922, was framed with a Gothic Revival frame from the time of acquisition through to the 1950’s. The painting appears in this frame in a newspaper clipping from the Sun newspaper, 16 September, 1949.
The reframing of the painting dates to 1954. It was made by Frederick Pollak in London, during the directorship of Daryl Lindsay.
The Gothic revival frame removed at the time has not been recovered.
The Pollak frame has been made with the corner joints filled and is gilded to all surfaces. The gilding appears to have been laid on to fabric, cracked and distressed and then glued to the wooden substrate of the frame. This technique to produce the appearance of aged cracking in the gilded surfaces can leave the direction of the cracking contrary to the grain of the timber. It nevertheless creates the broad impression of the frame being aged rather than new.
This is one of five frames by Pollak made for the collection and one of two remaining with their paintings, the other being with Tiepolo's The Banquet of Cleopatra.

Frederick Pollak

timber, fabric, gold leaf